Truffled eggs Benedict alone are worth the long wait at Norma’s (Le Parker Meridien, 118 W. 57th St.; 212/708-7460; breakfast for two $40).
The defiantly traditional Sushi Yasuda (204 E. 43rd St.; 212/972-1001; dinner for two $160), a tranquil oasis near Grand Central Terminal, is the best restaurant out-of-towners never hear about. Don’t expect run-of-the-mill spicy tuna rolls.
Tiny Chelsea newcomer El Quinto Pino (401 W. 24th St.; 212/206-6900; dinner for two $60) is as authentic as it gets and has an impressive list of Spanish wines. Not for the claustrophobic or the kosher.
David Chang is Manhattan’s most touted young chef, and his three East Village restaurants—Momofuku Noodle Bar (171 First Ave.; 212/777-7773; dinner for two $45); Momofuku Ssäm Bar (207 Second Ave.; 212/254-3500; lunch for two $40); and the new Momofuku Ko (163 First Ave.; 212/475-7899; dinner for two $150)—offer hearty, inventive Asian-inspired food at great prices.
The note-perfect SoHo brasserie Balthazar (80 Spring St.; 212/965-1414; dinner for two $90) keeps getting better (and the lines longer). Across from Lincoln Center, Daniel Boulud’s new Bar Boulud (1900 Broadway; 212/595-0303; dinner for two $80) has a knockout charcuterie bar and a private table for wine tastings.
Babbo may be more famous, but at Mario Batali’s neo-Roman trattoria Lupa (170 Thompson St.; 212/982-5089; dinner for two $100), the rustic Italian cooking is just as assured and the room even more convivial.
A Little Bit Country
New York is in the throes of a serious barbecue jones, with ’cue joints opening all over town. Top honors go to Hill Country (30 W. 26th St.; 212/255-4544; dinner for two $50), whose Texas-style ribs go well with live country, blues, and roots music.